Barely 48 hours after three policemen were ambushed and murdered by hoodlums in Abiriba, in Ohafia council area of Abia State, soldiers of the 144 Battalion, stationed at Ariaria junction, along the Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway, on Wednesday, were engaged in a fierce shoot out with gunmen.
It was gathered that the soldiers killed 11 of the 50 gunmen who brought the battle to their checkpoint at the Ariaria junction.
According to Vanguard, the soldiers had gathered intelligence before the gunmen arrived and laid in wait for them.
As soon as the gunmen arrived, they opened fire, but the soldiers responded.
Sources in the area said that the shoot out lasted for over 30 minutes, a development that led to the death of 11 of the hoodlums who surrendered to the superior gunpower of the soldiers.
While there are conflicting reports that it was 16 of the hoodlums that were killed, other members of the gang were said to have fled with bullet wounds.
“No soldier was killed, but we killed 11 of the gunmen. I assure the public that there was no casualty among the soldiers,” a top military source told the publication.
Reacting to the shoot out, the Abia State government commended the soldiers for their gallantry, stressing that it is committed to the protection of lives and properties of the residents of the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, who stated this, warned youths of the state not to put themselves in harm’s way by attacking security agents under any guise.
“It is a good development; we welcome every necessary measure to protect the good people of Abia State. We call on our young men and women not to put themselves in harm’s way by attacking security agents under any guise.
“We also urge them not to allow themselves to be used by politicians for any reason to cause insecurity. Abia State government will do everything possible to protect law-abiding citizens without fear.”